Headquartered in Singapore, Garena was founded in 2009 by Forrest Li and his friends as they aspired to transform their passion for entrepreneurship into a great company. Forrest named the company "Garena," a play on the words "global arena". Since its inception, Garena has seen unprecedented growth and become a leading platform provider for online and mobile entertainment and communication across Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, serving millions of users.
In 2010, Garena launched its first product, Garena+, an online game and social platform for people to meet, chat and play games with each other. By combining a communications tool with compelling digital content, Garena re-invented the business model for online games in Southeast Asia and created a true platform with strong network effects. Since its launch, many premium micro-transaction based online games have been exclusively available on Garena+ including three of the most popular titles in Southeast Asia: League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, and FIFA Online 3.
Since then, Garena has steadily innovated by adding successful extensions to its original platform:
- In 2012, Garena launched TalkTalk, a highly engaging real-time voice and video communication platform.
- In 2013, it launched BeeTalk, the first indigenous mobile social network in Southeast Asia. The BeeTalk mobile app helps people create new relationships and join communities based on locations and interests. It has become one of the most popular and fastest growing apps in the region.
- Most recently, in 2014 it launched AirPay, one of Southeast Asia’s fastest growing payments networks and a key tool for bridging the ‘digital divide’ to provide accessible financial services in emerging markets. Garena users can pay for online games, telephone bills, utilities, and e-commerce transactions on the AirPay network – regardless of whether they have a bank account or credit card.
The combination of PC and mobile, content and communications, and microtransactions and payments is the foundation of Garena’s compelling value proposition to both its millions of users and its trusted content and e-commerce partners.
About Forrest Li, Founder, Chairman, and Group CEO of Garena
Forrest Li founded Garena in May 2009 and has been the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since its inception. Li aspires to make people’s daily life better through technology, and has devoted most of his career to the Technology, Media and Telecommunications industry. Prior to founding Garena, Li worked at Motorola, Corning and MTV Networks. To tap into his entrepreneurial spirit, he also participated and contributed in the formation and development of several early stage technology start-up projects. Li holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Shanghai Jiaotong University in China and an MBA from Stanford University in the United States.